So when should you wise up and zip it?
When you are right
Just knowing that you are right should be motivation enough to hold your tongue in the face of scepticism, criticism and prejudice directed at you. Sometimes, silence the most effective way to make your point. You exhibit dignity, grace and self-control—all of which shine through when you zip it.
When you are wrong
Wrong and strong and vocal is not a good combination. In fact, it is an uncomplimentary description, which can tarnish your reputation. If you walk into a room and people clam up and shun you, it may be that your reputation came in ahead of you. Being wrong is no disgrace. Once you make that discovery, just zip it.
When you are not sure what to say
Freedom of speech is not a licence to broadcast your ignorance at family gatherings, in class, in meetings or at social functions. Pontificating on issues about which you have no clue, only amplifies your lack of knowledge and the wisdom to know when to zip it. This piece of wisdom comes from the Book of Proverbs, in the Bible – “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.” Proverbs 17:28. So prove yourself prudent and zip it.
When you are angry
Raging arguments can easily culminate into violence. One hurtful word, one insult, one sarcastic remark, one tease, followed by a barrage of verbal reciprocity and the next thing you know, you have a major brawl on your hands. All it takes to simmer a disagreement and quell anger is one person who chooses to exercise his right to zip it.
When your actions will suffice
The saying, “Actions speak louder than words,” has been around for a long time. Maybe you have proven its wisdom repeatedly in your life. Whether to convey a positive message or drive home a serious point, your actions can speak louder when you zip it.
When your heart and head don’t agree
On your life’s journey, you will encounter crossroads, with your heart and head sending opposing messages. You may cry on shoulders for advice and what friends and family members offer may give you comfort. Yet, many times, the clarity, direction and purpose you need, come through in the silence created when you cease rehashing the issue and zip it.
When your words may do more harm than good
It is human nature, it seems, to get one-up on others, have the last say and come out on top. Frequently, the urge to slather people with your words—set them straight and put them in their place, is fuelled by a false sense of superiority. In an effort to wield the sword, you open your mouth and words come out that may be more callous than you intended. Better sense and compassion might prevail, if you step back from the situation and zip it.
Do people avoid you or blatantly tell you that you talk too much? Are you creating an avalanche of advice by repeating your troubles? Is the constant exchange of words jeopardizing your relationships and ruining your chances of a job promotion or some personal success? It might be time to do things differently. Display some grace and self-control and zip it.